India: The government has decided to cancel the allotment of a cement plant given to India Cements in Gumma, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
The decision was taken after India Cements expressed its unwillingness to start works, according to local media. "It has been decided to cancel the allotment as the company is no longer keen to set up the plant and they have failed to show any progress in the years since the allotment was made," said Mukesh Agnihotri, industry minister. He added that the government cabinet would need to confirm the allotment cancellation.
Agnihotri said that the government plans to invite global bids for the proposed cement plant in Chamba have been put on hold as Jaiprakash Associates, which had earlier been given the project, has moved to court. The project in Chamba was allotted to Jaiprakash Associates in 2006 and a memorandum of understanding was signed in February 2007 to establish a 2Mt/yr capacity cement plant.
The industry department issued notices to three cement plants in addition to Jaiprakash Associates as to why their plants should not be cancelled, as they had failed to set up facilities that had been approved several years ago. The three cement plants included units by Lafarge in Alsindi, India Cement in Gumma and Harish Cement in Sundernagar. After finding the replies unsatisfactory, the government cancelled the cement plants allotted to Jaiprakash Associates and India Cements. Some of the companies have already invested a lot of money, but could not start operation due to various factors, including clearances from different agencies like the Ministry of Forest and Environment. In some cases, locals have moved to court against the projects, citing loss of agricultural land and an adverse impact on the health of people.